In my high school days, the morning rides to school didn’t feel complete without the local Christian station, 104.7 The Fish. Jokes were cringy and ads were constant, but tradition had to be upheld. One of the less appealing aspects of the station was the music selection. It wasn’t bad, but they play roughly five different songs over and over.
It’s been years since I’ve tuned in regularly, but, lately, one of those five songs has been really sitting with me. Not because of its face-melting riffage or booming bass line. Rather, it’s a fairly simple song with some lyrics that have hit me so hard. The name of that song – “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath.
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see,
Everything that I keep missing,
Give your love for humanity.
The song is an earnest and urgent prayer to see people in a new light, the way God sees them. Lately, that’s a request I’ve been praying for as well.
For some time now, I’ve been apathetic to people and what’s going on around me. To steal a line from the song, “All those people going somewhere, why have I never cared.” I don’t know if it’s just part of my nature or the result of conditioning. Quite frankly, I don’t care – I just felt convicted that it cannot be acceptable to continue living this way.
As if my overall feeling of “meh” towards others wasn’t bad enough, I’ve started doing it to myself as well. Intentionally blinding myself to anything that causes any sort of uncertainty or conflict.
So obsessed with living a carefree and comfortable life, I’ve cut myself off from anyone else. I’ve tuned out. I’m cautious to even let those I care about fully in.
The results of living so have not been great. Most of my relationships are shallow reflections of what they’re meant to be. I tend to be out of touch with others. And I’ve not been the force for love I’m called to be. Whatever the perceived positives for living this way may be, it ultimately has not been a satisfying way to live.
Coming to terms with this apathy…it’s been an experience. Conviction that you’re not living right is always a hard pill to swallow. Actually changing isn’t any easier. Or at least it hasn’t been for me in this instance. To see people differently has been a prayer constantly on my mind. Day by day, I try my best not to just tune out but to actually see people, to take in their words and their stories and build some sort of genuine relationship with them.
It’s so easy to just see people, but not actually see them. We see the homeless man begging for food on the exit but just try to ignore him, giving him not so much as a thought. Our coworker starts ranting about her home life for the 327th time and we just try to tune her out. A car cuts us off and we forget how to treat that person as a human.
But beyond the surface is a person that loves, hurts, feels, thinks just like I do. Like you do. When we take time to learn or consider, you find out that the homeless man is one of the kindest men on the planet but lost everything due to circumstances outside his control. Or that your coworker’s marriage is on its last leg and she is doing everything to save it and care for her kids. And that car, it’s being driven by a man rushing to the hospital to see his loved one that’s on their death bed. Once you hear these stories, see people beyond the surface level, you can’t just see them and not feel for them, not do anything.
That’s what I’ve been challenged with lately – to tune in to the real, messy, broken lives of those around me every day and of those I have a single opportunity to impact alike. And I challenge you to do the same. Have the eyes to see what you’ve been missing for so long.
How do you see people? What do you do to empathize with them more?